Quick Hits from Blackhawks-Avalanche: Controversial offsides ruling turning point in comeback

Quick Hits from Blackhawks-Avalanche: Controversial offsides ruling turning point in comeback

Here’s the problem with writing Quick Hits ahead of time: they can change quickly. Coach Joel Quenneville uses that phrase all the time, and we didn’t heed it.

Still, what were the odds the Blackhawks would turn a two-period, 3-1 deficit into a 6-3 victory? Live and learn – and wait until the end of the game to write.

Anyway, we’re stalling. Let’s look at the notables from the Blackhawks’ comeback victory over the Colorado Avalanche.

What Worked: The third period. Well, more to the point, the final 10 minutes of it. The Blackhawks played better overall in the third period after admitting to radio and TV that they were too cute for their own good through the first 20 minutes. Better shots, more shots and more traffic led to the desired results for the Blackhawks, who were unstoppable that final 20 minutes.

What Didn’t Work: The Avalanche’s challenge. On first glance it looked like the Avs were going to win their challenge for offside on Jonathan Toews’ first goal and any momentum the Blackhawks did gain from it would be gone. Not so fast. Officials deemed it a good goal, ruling the review “was not conclusive in determining whether Toews tagged up at the instant the puck was on Richard Panik’s stick when Chicago entered the attacking zone prior to the goal.” When a review is inconclusive, officials are, “instructed to confirm their original call.” The Blackhawks had the goal, the momentum and they ran with it.

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Star of the game: Toews. You look to your leaders in situations like this and Toews was outstanding in that final period. His first goal woke the Blackhawks up and his second put it out of reach (5-3 at the time). Toews is now on a four-game point streak (three goals, two assists).

He Said It: “It’s just fun to watch. And then I’m just trying to stay into it, because I didn’t have any shots or chances for eight or nine minutes I’d say there. [The Avs] not going to give up. They’re going to come back and try and do anything they can. You’ve got to stay mentally in it as a goalie because you’ve got to be ready when they come back your way. But it was super impressive to watch.” — Scott Darling on the Blackhawks’ comeback.

By the Numbers:

34 – Time, in seconds, that the Blackhawks scored three goals in the third period (Toews, Richard Panik, Artemi Panarin).

17 – Goals, in his last 20 games, for Patrick Kane. With 79 points, Kane is now tied for third in the league in points with Brad Marchand (79). He trails Connor McDavid and Sidney Crosby (80 each).

6 – Consecutive games in which Artemi Panarin has at last a point. He has four goals and four assists in that span.

8-1-0 – Record for Scott Darling since Jan. 1.

Three goals in 34 seconds fuels Blackhawks’ comeback over Avalanche

Three goals in 34 seconds fuels Blackhawks’ comeback over Avalanche

John Hayden has watched the Blackhawks the past few years. He’s seen the victories, be it those that were strong from the start or the comebacks. But seeing them from afar was nothing compared to being part of one.

“That was pretty special. For me, I learned a lot about this locker room,” said Hayden. “Obviously I’ve seen it but to be a part of it is pretty cool. Tremendous leadership group here.”

That leadership group and the Blackhawks as a whole, turned what was a 50-minute snoozer on their part to an impressive 10-minute comeback.

Patrick Kane scored his 32nd goal of the season and the Blackhawks scored five unanswered goals in the third period to beat the Colorado Avalanche 6-3. The Blackhawks went ballistic in the final period, scoring four goals in 3:02, including three in 34 seconds, to turn a forgettable game into an unforgettable third.

The Blackhawks, thanks to the Calgary Flames' 5-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings, clinched a playoff berth for the ninth consecutive season. They are now seven points ahead of the Minnesota Wild, who lost 5-4 to Winnipeg on Sunday. The Blackhawks have had comebacks before and had some talks in the second intermission prior to the third. The talks, some of which revolved around the Blackhawks shooting more and ridding themselves of the fancy stuff, worked.

Jonathan Toews redirected a Duncan Keith shot midway through the third period to cut it to 3-2 at 10:17. The Avalanche challenged for offside and, despite it appearing to be that, officials said the review was inconclusive and the original good-goal call stood. According to the NHL’s Situation Room:

Review was not conclusive in determining whether Toews tagged up at the instant the puck was on Richard Panik’s stick when Chicago entered the attacking zone prior to the goal. According to Rule 78.7, “If a review is not conclusive and/or there is any doubt whatsoever as to whether the call on the ice was correct, the On-Ice Official(s) will be instructed to confirm their original call.”

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Coach Joel Quenneville said it was a good call, comparing it to the challenge that erased a Blackhawks goal on Feb. 8 against Minnesota.

“I thought it was the right call,” Quenneville said. “It doesn’t trigger the offside until he touches the puck and Jonny gets his skate back on time, right at probably the same time as we touch it. You could say it was a tie. That’s the Minnesota play.”

Richard Panik and Artemi Panarin followed with quick goals of their own, giving the Blackhawks three goals in 34 seconds. Toews added his second 3:02 after he scored his first for a 5-3 Blackhawks advantage. Hayden, playing in his third pro game, had primary assists on Toews’ first goal and Panik’s tally.

The Blackhawks’ third period was a 180 from their first two. Listless, sloppy and playing uninspired hockey, through those first 40 minutes the Blackhawks were no match for an Avs team with nothing to lose. Entering the third the Blackhawks, who were playing too cute at times, knew they had to change things.

“Our focus was, we’ve gotta shoot more. We had grade-A chances and we just passed the opportunities,” Panik said. “We were just talking about shooting more.”

It was also about creating traffic and second chances, which the Blackhawks finally did. Marcus Kruger capped the comeback with his empty-net goal with 1.6 seconds remaining in regulation.

The Blackhawks may not be playing the dominant hockey they were through most of February. They’ve had their hiccups, their slow moments as they did against the Avs. But their ability to find ways to win has been there for a few seasons now, and they showed that again on Sunday.

“We’ve been in a lot of tight games lately where offense has been hard to come by, and it looked like the same thing for 40 minutes tonight,” Toews said. “Good to get a few bounces. No doubt it gets the crowd into it, energizes your team, so it made a huge difference for us tonight.”

Scott Darling starts, Marian Hossa 'likely' in as Blackhawks seek to clinch playoff berth

Scott Darling starts, Marian Hossa 'likely' in as Blackhawks seek to clinch playoff berth

Scott Darling will start and Marian Hossa is expected to be back in the lineup when the Blackhawks face the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday night.

Per the NHL, there are a couple of ways the Blackhawks could clinch a playoff spot tonight:

  • If they beat the Avalanche in regulation or overtime and the Los Angeles Kings lose to the Calgary Flames in any fashion or beat the Flames in a shootout. Or,
  • if they beat the Avalanche in a shootout and the Kings lose to the Flames in any way. Or,
  • if they get one point against the Avalanche and the Kings lose to the Flames in regulation.

Hossa missed Saturday night’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs with a lower-body injury but coach Joel Quenneville said Hossa is “likely” to play vs. the Avalanche. The last time the Blackhawks had a back-to-back Quenneville rested Niklas Hjalmarsson and Johnny Oduya, both of whom were coming off recent injuries. Quenneville said, “maybe one of them might not play” vs. the Avalanche. It seems it’s more likely to be a rest night for Oduya.

The Blackhawks have won four in a row and, entering Sunday night’s games, hold a five-point lead over the Minnesota Wild, who are playing the Winnipeg Jets. Although the Wild have lost four games in a row – a season high for them – Quenneville isn’t expecting that skid to last.

“I see them finding a way to get some points here,” he said. “I know everyone has good and bad streaks. We’ve seen a streaky year from a lot of teams that had excellent runs and they had a big run. We still think they’re a very dangerous team, capable of winning every single night, and [have] real balance to their lineup. Don’t get comfortable being in the position we’re in. We were in the position they’re [now] in earlier in the year and they were in the position we’re in today, so let’s just keep trying to push ahead.”

The Avalanche have lost three of four, including a 5-1 defeat to the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday night.

Broadcast information:

Time: 6 p.m.

TV: WGN

Radio: WGN 720 AM

Chicago Blackhawks (projected)

Forward lines

John Hayden-Jonathan Toews-Richard Panik

Artemi Panarin-Nick Schmaltz-Patrick Kane

Ryan Hartman-Tanner Kero-Marian Hossa

Andrew Desjardins-Marcus Kruger-Jordin Tootoo

Defensive pairs

Duncan Keith-Niklas Hjalmarsson

Michal Kempny-Brent Seabrook

Brian Campbell-Trevor van Riemsdyk

Goaltender

Scott Darling

Injuries/illness: Artem Anisimov (left leg)

 

Colorado Avalanche (projected)

Forward lines

Gabriel Landeskog-Matt Duchene-Rene Bourque

Sven Andrighetto-Nathan Mackinnon-Mikko Rantanen

John Mitchell-Carl Soderberg-Blake Comeau

Mikhail Grigorenko-JT Compher-Joe Colborne

Defensive Pairs

Erik Johnson-Mark Barberio

Fedor Tyutin-Tyson Barrie

Anton Lindholm-Francois Beauchemin

Goaltender

Calvin Pickard

Injuries/illness:: Semyon Varlamov (hip), Nikita Zadorov (broken ankle), Matt Nieto (knee)